Miscarriage Story - A Story of Grief and Joy
This miscarriage story is a continuation. To read the story in its entirety, click here.
The suspense of not knowing if my baby would live or die was overwhelming. I remember asking God to either stop the bleeding or take the baby. I had had enough. A few days later I went to the emergency room with strong uterine pain. As soon as my husband and I were admitted, I went to the bathroom and passed a large clot. That’s when the heavy bleeding began for me. At 8 weeks I had a full miscarriage. The suspense was over. We lost our baby.
We were devastated, but God was gracious and led us through the whole ordeal. My husband and I with our two sons planted a Rose of Sharon in the baby’s honor. We picked Jeremiah 17:7 (“Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the river who sends out its roots in the stream. It will not fear when heat comes and it’s leaves are always green. It has no worries in the year of drought and never fails to bear fruit”) as a life verse for the baby and sang “Blessed be the name of the Lord” as we stood around our little plant. Afterwards we felt better -- a sense of closure anyway.
We were told to wait three cycles to try again, but after the first one we decided to leave the timing up to God. I got pregnant right away. I was so scared. Would we be allowed to keep this baby? I guess I figured almost every third pregnancy is a miscarriage and now I could relate to other women who lost their babies. I was young and healthy and saw no reason it would happen again. Still, we only told those who we knew would pray for us. I knew that miscarriages are common before 12 weeks, but I was holding my breath until I got to 8 weeks since that’s when I miscarried previously.
At 8 weeks, I felt confirmation from the Lord that my baby was going to be fine. I started releasing my fears and anxieties. We told our boys and started telling all our friends and family about the pregnancy. From there everything progressed as normal. I was sick for a few weeks. My clothes grew tighter each day until finally I could only wear maternity clothes. At about 15 weeks I felt the little life inside me move. I laughed then cried with joy. The life inside me was growing and I felt that we would once again have a baby in our home.
The signs of life were so obvious, but still I had trouble accepting it. I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I accept the fact that I was pregnant and attach to the baby? I wondered if it was due to the previous loss that doubt of this life continued. I wondered if my disbelief was because I had given up hope of another child years before. I didn’t understand why, but something kept me from accepting the reality that I was pregnant.
Miscarriage Story - Comfort in the Pain
At 16 weeks I went to a regular midwife appointment and heard a healthy heartbeat. We set up an ultrasound for 20 weeks to determine the sex of the baby. I went home thinking, “After the ultrasound, then I’ll let down my guard and allow myself to get excited.” A few days later I had a horrible dream that we lost the baby. I was very shook up and it took a few hours of prayer and reading God’s word to calm me down. I thought of calling the midwife and having the heartbeat checked. I wanted to trust in the Lord -- to trust my reassurance at 8 weeks that this baby would live. So I decided to be patient and wait three weeks till my next appointment. From that day on there was doubt in the back of my mind. Was the baby still alive? Was that movement I just felt or just gas? I was patient and soon it was time to go to another appointment. I remember that morning telling a friend that I was scared that I would go in and not hear the heartbeat. Like any good friend would do, she told me I was being silly and that everything would be fine. Later that day the moment of truth came.
The time came to check the heartbeat. No heartbeat could be found. She tried a few more times, but still could not find anything. My heart sank. Had I been right or was God just testing to see if I really did trust Him? I left the midwife’s office thinking there was a chance everything was fine. There are times you can’t find a heartbeat for some reason and the baby is fine. I was almost 20 weeks, miscarriages happen before 12 weeks I told myself.
I was willing to wait another week for the ultrasound, but a friend talked me into going to the emergency room that night. I wanted to believe that the baby was fine. That we would just go in, see the heartbeat on ultrasound and everything would proceed as normal. Everything wasn’t fine. We saw the baby on ultrasound, a perfectly formed baby, but there was no heartbeat to be found. Our little baby had died three weeks before. I was stunned. Why had God given us a name when He knew our two little ones would pass away? We didn’t understand.
My friends drove me home to meet my devastated husband standing in the doorway. We held each other and cried and cried that night. The next morning we found ourselves on the phone until noon sharing the news with our friends and family. We finally just had to get out of the house. A few pastors agreed to meet us at the church to pray for us. They prayed for God’s grace to be with us, for his blessing over our family and over future children. I remember one lady who prayed that God would give me the ability to release this child and give it from my womb into His hands. That day was one of the hardest days I’ve ever experienced. I was still pregnant and noticeably so, yet the child within me had gone home to our Lord. I knew that the hardest obstacle was still ahead of us -- birth. We had dinner with our friends that evening and then went to the hospital. I remember saying before we left that I wasn’t ready. I knew what I had to do and I didn’t want to do it. I wanted it all to be a bad dream and I wanted to hold my healthy baby and watch it grow into an adult. But, that was not God’s plan. “My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts.”
As I look back, I realize why I was never able to attach my heart to the baby. This was a baby I was never meant to raise. God had guarded my heart from the very beginning. I do not understand our God, but I know He loves us and does not like to see us hurting. But this is a fallen world we live in and death is a very real part of it. God uses all sorts of things to shape us into whom He has intended us to be. The refining fire is hot, but He intends it for beauty.
Paul was birthed on November 5 at 4:02 a.m. He was perfectly formed at almost 10 ounces and 8 inches long. We got to hold him for 5 hours then had to leave him at the hospital. I’ve never left a maternity ward empty handed before and I pray I never will again. We had him cremated and had a beautiful service at our church for him. We sang praise songs and quoted Scriptures and thanked God for the life He had given us and the life He had taken away. We thanked Him for the short time we had Paul with us, for feeling his life move inside me. Our friends and family were very compassionate and supportive and blessed us with enough food to last nearly 4 weeks. Jeremiah 29:11 is the verse we picked for this baby. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
I have taken such comfort in this verse. God knows the plans He has for us. He doesn’t want to harm us, yet He allows each a situation to refine us to be able to know Him better. To conform us to His image. He desires that no pain be for nothing. He has sent Jesus to walk with me, holding my hand through this time. He has eased the pain and given me glimpses of joy to come.
Miscarriage Story - Strength to Move On
It has been over 4 years now since I lost my Paul. It has been a very interesting journey. My husband and I have been to the dark depths of grief. We have felt the prayers of loved ones surround us and we have felt God’s hands carry us though. I can honestly say that I am thankful for the experience. I know that sounds strange, but hang with me here. Though I still miss Paul, though I feel at times that someone is missing in our family, though the pain of lost hopes and dreams for him have not diminished, I know that I would not understand the depth of God’s love for me, therefore I would not be who I am today if it were not for walking through that season of loss. I have come to trust God implicitly with my family. I know from experience that whatever He has us walk through, we do not walk alone! God promises never to leave us or forsake us. Not just me, but you too. There is nothing we do to deserve this kind of love and attention. He offers it freely just because He loves us. He wants us to know that we are not alone. Often we are so busy that we don’t notice His company. But when we are broken, we suddenly become aware of so much more than we were before. God grieves with us. His light shines in all darkness. Hold onto his promises for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He gives us an opportunity to cry out to Him and ask Him to give us new hope, new vision, and a desire to walk closer to Him than ever before.
It is comforting for me to know that Paul rests with the Father. Paul never saw a sinful day. He never breathed the air of this sinful world, and he is added to the ranks of the purest warriors in heaven’s army. As hard as it is to let him go, we are honored that God wanted Paul by His side. He wanted us to be his parents, but God had mightier plans for Paul than we could have ever imagined. Paul now stands with his brother or sister that went before him and all the other pure soldiers from other families who have had to let go of their tiny babies.
It would be easy for me to say that God has been mean to me. That God has kept from me the thing my heart desires the most. That he does not care about allowing pain in my life. But this is the farthest thing from the truth. I see God as a good and gracious father. One who has my best interest in mind. Sometimes our children have to go through hard times. As their parents all we can do is walk with them, hold their hand, and try to make it as least painful for them as possible. We yearn for them to gain knowledge and wisdom through their hardships and to come out the better for it. This is how I see our heavenly Father.
No matter how angry or bitter I have gotten at God for allowing my babies to die, He has forgiven me and replaced my anger with love, acceptance, and peace. For reasons we won’t know until in heavens midst, God took our babies to be with Him. Yet He has not left us empty handed or empty hearted. God’s grace covers all. Philippians 3:12-14 says, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
God wants each of us to be more like Jesus and in order to become more like Him, we must suffer. Jesus suffered more than any of us will ever know. Thank God that His death paid the punishment for our sins and that we suffer so little in comparison. Romans 5:1-5 says, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ . . . and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope.”
One year to the day that Paul was born we had a baby shower for our little boy in my belly. It was a shower in faith for me as I felt I had to be willing to give him to God, too, should that be His will. Yet, Obadiah Walter was born December 9. He was strong and healthy despite all our fears. I was so happy that Obadiah was healthy, that I was no longer sad that I didn’t have a daughter. I figured if God wanted me to have a daughter, He would give me one in His timing. I would still look at little girls and think how sweet they were, but it didn’t hurt so much that I didn’t have one. After all, I had three healthy boys and truly realized what a miracle that was.
It was in this season of enjoyment and contentment that God breathed life into my womb once again. This time, it was completely unexpected. I felt the realization that this pregnancy too might not go full term, but there was an awareness in me now to enjoy each day of the pregnancy. Whether or not I got to watch this child learn to walk and talk, I had that new life with me each day.
I was blessed once again to have a normal full-term pregnancy. I was blown away by the love of our God when we found out that he had given us a little girl of our own. Julia Elizabeth Joy was born on September 18. God had seen my affliction, held me when I was broken, heard my heart’s cry and when I was least expecting it, blessed me with the desires of my heart.
I cannot put to words the gratitude of my heart to our Lord. Not just for answering my prayers, but for seeing deeper into me than I could and knowing what I would need to be ready to receive what he has had for me. It helps me to look back on the past -- looking on what He’s brought us through. It gives me courage and hope for the future and most importantly, a realization that He is sovereign above all things in my life and in the world around me. I place my trust fully in the one who has knit me in my mother’s womb and renewed me each and every day that I am willing to let Him.
I still struggle from time to time when things look bleak, but when I remember that the God who parted the Red Sea, the God that fed his people in the desert for 40 years, the God that opened the womb of a 90 year old woman, is the same God who is with me each day helping me face my struggles. I breathe a lot easier. I am still learning how to praise God through ALL things. By making a heart choice to praise and to thank, I am experiencing my relationship with Him in a whole new way.
God wants to take us to heights we could never imagine, but we have to give Him our all -- all of our fears, all our struggles, all of our hopes, all of our dreams. We are able to do this in remembering God’s plans for us are for good. First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”
Yes, we have a good God -- a God who loves us, cares for us, and will never leave us. We feel so blessed that we have been touched by heaven.